The economics of peace and war in the Chinese military classics


  • Matthew McCaffrey University of Manchester



Chinese history, military strategy, war finance, political economy of war, Art of War


While some classics of Chinese military and strategic thought, like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, are well-studied by researchers and business professionals, lesser-known works in China’s military canon have been neglected. This article surveys seven major ancient Chinese texts and discusses the contribution of each to the political economy of peace and war. As a rule, the writings stress the importance of nonviolent conflict resolution and advocate the avoidance of war whenever possible. In addition, they also consider the role of the state in war-making, especially its methods of war finance and attempts to encourage or discourage economic activity. They generally warn the state to limit its expenditure and impositions on the population so as to encourage the production of resources for use in military campaigns, should they become necessary. [JEL codes: B11, H2, H56]

Author Biography

Matthew McCaffrey, University of Manchester

Lecturer in Enterprise, Manchester Enterprise Centre, University of Manchester


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How to Cite

McCaffrey, M. (2015). The economics of peace and war in the Chinese military classics. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 10(1).




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